As corn prices have increased and global demand for meat has skyrocketed, farmers have been withdrawing land from the Conservation Reserve Program. This reduction in CRP has slashed habitat for most of Minnesota's ground nesting birds. Why is this such a big deal? These birds are vital to Minnesota history and help control insect populations. In addition these prairies help sequester storm runoff and control erosion. As thousands of Minnesota residents, farmers, and landowners struggle with flooding the need for better long term management of our landscape is more clear then ever before. The majority of this flooding is exacerbated by the lack of wetlands and prairies which can hold vast amounts of rainwater preventing much of the devastating flooding Minnesota is seeing today. What can be done? As a landowner or resident we all have the power to reverse these trends. Plant native prairie plants in your yard, install a rain garden, encourage your neighbor to adopt native prairie landscapes, buy local food from farmers who use sustainable practices to protect wetlands and prairies. As a consumer and citizen you have the power to make a real difference. As Margret Mead said never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
Jason Ludwigson: President Winona/Root River Pheasants Forever Chapter 3242